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Keys to the Palace: Delle Donne and Toliver are in good form heading to the playoffs

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The Mystics will need All Star Toliver down the stretch. Stewart W. Small

The Mystics lost to the Sun on August 29, beat the Storm on September 1 in their home season finale, but lost to the Lynx in their season finale. They finished the 2017 regular season with an 18-16 record and the #6 seed in the WNBA playoffs. Let’s go through one more round of player evaluations before the postseason:

Keys to the Palace

Elena Delle Donne

EDD would have easily dropped over 20 points each and every game if she played more than 12 minutes in the season finale against Phoenix. I’m also happy to see that she finished the year with a career high field goal percentage (49.4 percent)

Kristi Toliver

Toliver was like fine wine this past week as her scoring and three point efficiency improved with each passing game. We’ll need another 20 point performance from her like what we saw against the Lynx yesterday for the playoffs.

Guest Passes

Krystal Thomas

Thomas had three straight games with double digit rebounds. In the beginning, I’d give her keys for that. But I would’ve like to see a game where she made another putback or two at this point before the playoffs. Still, she’s the most improved player on this team, hands down.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt

TRP’s biggest scoring day was against the Sun when she scored six points, but I feel that her best performance was against the Storm when she dished five assists.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough

SWK had a strong 14 point, 5 rebound performance against the Sun last Tuesday. Hopefully we can see another performance like that for the playoffs.

Ivory Latta

Latta’s highlight game was a 9 point outing against the Lynx on Sunday, but she didn’t shoot the Mystics to a victory or brick them to a loss.

Allison Hightower

Hightower’s last game in the regular season was against the Storm where she scored 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting. She also played well on the defensive end where she grabbed a couple steals.

Tianna Hawkins

Hawkins’ best scoring performance was against the Storm when she scored 9 points on 4 of 5 shooting and she also grabbed 7 rebounds in the Lynx game. Maybe we’ll see everything come together on Wednesday when her number is called.

Lockout

Emma Meesseman

I was impressed with Meesseman’s 27 point showing against the Storm. But I was more disappointed in her duds against the Sun and Lynx and that gets her a lockout as we head to the playoffs.

Most players get a guest pass for the week Meesseman had. But Meesseman isn’t “most players.” As a cornerstone on this team, we expect a more feisty performance from her in big games, especially now that we’ve seen what she can do in a Belgian uniform.

And finally, this is a paradox on Meesseman this season as a whole that I’m trying to figure out. Though she is still very efficient, her net rating differential this season was just 5 points (according to Basketball-Reference). For reference, Delle Donne’s net rating differential was 24 points. According to WNBA.com who uses a different formula, Meesseman’s net rating differential is just 0.6 points, behind Tayler Hill and Natasha Cloud, not just Delle Donne.

That’s Meesseman’s lowest net rating since she was a rookie. Part of the reason may be because she played poorly in the first four games of the regular season before EuroBasket Women. But in the grand scheme of things, that is certainly a sign of her trials and tribulations this season to say the least.

No ratings

Get well soon Tayler Hill and Natasha Cloud.